By Stuart Winer
Central Bureau of Statistics figures show number of residents increased by 1.9% in the past year, including 174,000 babies
Israel’s population stands at 8,680,000 and is increasing at nearly two percent a year, according to figures released on Thursday by the Central Bureau of Statistics ahead of the country’s 69th Independence Day next week.
Over the past 12 months some 174,000 babies were born, 44,000 people died and 30,000 new immigrants arrived in the country. Overall, the population increased by 1.9%, and at the current rate will hit 15.2 million by the time Israel celebrates its centenary in 2048.
Independence Day begins with celebrations on Monday night, as the country transitions from Memorial Day — 24 hours of mourning for its fallen soldiers and terror victims.
In 1948 there were just 806,000 people in Israel, less than a tenth of the current number. At the time, the global Jewish population was 11.5 million, and just 6% were in Israel. There are now estimated to be 14.4 million Jewish people in the world and 43% of them are in the Jewish state.
Whereas in 1949 the life expectancy for women in Israel was 67.6 years and 64.9 for men, by the end of 2015 it was 84.5 for women and 80.9 for men.
The 6,484,000 Jews in the country make up 74.4% of all residents, while 1.8 million Arabs account for 20.8% and non-Arab Christians and other ethnic groups number 388,000 people, or 4.4% of the population.
Among today’s Jewish population, 75% were born in Israel, and over half are second-generation Israelis. In 1948, however, just 35% of the Jews living in Israel were born in pre-state Palestine.
Just over half of the population, 54.3%, are between the ages of 19 and 64. The over-65 set makes up 11.1% of the population, and those 18 years old or less are 34.6%. At the end of 2015 there were 45,000 residents over the age of 90, the CBS noted.
Less than half of Israel’s Jews, 44%, consider themselves secular, 24% are traditional but not so religious, 12% are traditional religious, 11% are religious, and 9% are ultra-Orthodox.
Among the non-Jewish population, 52% see themselves as religious, 21% are secular, 23% not so religious, and 4% very religious.
Jerusalem is the biggest city with 865,700 residents, while the smallest community is the southern hamlet of Neve Zohar, in the Tamar Regional Council, with a population of 71.